'America's Got Talent' season 13, episode 15 recap: Cats, a choir and creepy girls rule
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“America’s Got Talent” aired the second round of quarterfinals last night (Aug. 21) on NBC. Twelve acts hit the stage to vie for America’s vote and hopefully stay in the race for the $1 million top prize. The contenders delivered performances on both ends of the emotional spectrum from the joyous and uplifting Voices of Hope Children’s Choir to Sacred Riana’s terrifying creepy girl army-infused magic act. As usual, AGT judges Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel weighed in with their thoughts heading into America’s vote and tonight’s elimination round.

Heidi’s Golden Buzzer Delivers Grand Opening

Despite all sorts technical difficulties that plagued this week’s live performances, 15-year-old singing sensation Makayla Phillips kicked the night off with a spectacular rendition of Julia Michaels’ hit song “Issues.” As Heidi Klum’s Golden Buzzer winner, the teen proved herself worthy of her express ticket to the live shows with her stunning vocals and emotive delivery of the song. She seems at home and completely at ease under the spotlight, given the amount of pressure singing for millions of viewers at home brings. Win or lose, it’s easy to imagine a record deal in her future.

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Dancers Dazzle and Yumbo Dump Fizzles

Dominican Republic dance troupe Da Republik slew their alien apocalypse dance routine. This tightly-choreographed, fast-paced crew’s passion is obvious, and their routine is exciting to watch. Having come from challenging circumstances, it’s easy to root for this act to succeed. All four judges jumped to their feet at the end of the performance and Simon paid them a huge compliment by saying they are the best dance group they’ve seen in the live shows.

It must be hard for singer-songwriter Noah Guthrie to go from the glam and glory associated with being a cast member on “Glee,” to starting over with little prospects when the series ended. Guthrie has a raspy, rich, soulful voice. But, the judges were mixed on his delivery of an original song. Simon found it gutsy and great, while Howie and Mel didn’t quite connect with it. He’s definitely talented, but, with the playing field so competitive this year, his AGT future seems uncertain.

Body noisemakers Yumbo Dump seem like a polarizing act this season. They’re either loved or loathed and last night’s sound effects performance was underwhelming, especially the zip tie – which didn’t really even sound like a zip tie. They salvaged some of the routines by acting out a “dolphin love story,” complete with dolphin masks over their heads. Their act might be original, but, compared to daredevils, magicians, comedians and singers they seem lacking in true talent and should likely get cut tonight.

Comedy, Choir and Cats

Comedian Samuel J. Comroe has been a judge favorite since his original, self-deprecating audition and subsequent sets which centered around his Tourettes. This week, his jokes were about a dog he and his wife adopted and Howie enjoyed the change in focus. As for comedians on the show, he’s arguably a standout. However, with five acts being cut tonight, it’s hard to say if he delivered enough this week to escape elimination.

A show of hands, please, for anyone who thinks it was so fun to see Simon waving his arms along with the super joyful performance of the Golden Buzzer winning Voices of Hope Children’s Choir! The kids were dressed and aligned to symbolize the colors of the rainbow and did an extraordinary job with their  “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman” performance. There is absolutely nothing negative about this inspiring group of children who sing with oodles of boundless youthful joy. Simon swayed and waved his hands in the air as the kids sang and told them it was perfect and he “wants them in the show all the way to the end.” We couldn’t agree more!

Next up, The Savitsy Cats amazed and delighted everyone with some more jaw-dropping tricks, typically seen performed by dogs. They did a “Keeping Up with the Kats” routine that was obviously a nod to the Kardashians and more than once, the cats faltered before nailing their tricks. That doesn’t matter, though. What these cats do is amazing, and we hope they make it through to the next round.

Scary Spice Gets Spooked

Mel B has made it very clear she doesn’t like Sacred Riana’s head-twitching, doll-laden magic act because it gives her the creeps. Last night, Riana upped the fright factor by making voodoo dolls with Mel and Simon’s faces on them and having a swarm of Riana copycat girls creep out of the audience and onto the stage. Mel was verbally and visibly spooked. It was bone-chilling – especially when Riana scaled a wall, there was a scream and then the show cut to black before heading to a commercial. Really creepy! When the show returned, Simon praised her, saying she’s brilliant and he hopes she makes it to the finals.

Golden Buzzer Dance, Wild Card Wonder and Tantalizing Trapeze

Golden Buzzer dance duo Quin and Misha dazzled again with a routine filled with lifts, spins, drops and moves that belied Quin’s 71 years. Three of four judges stood to applaud them at the end of the performance. But, Howie was unimpressed, saying, if the age factor was removed, they might not have done enough to advance. Simon disagreed, saying the age factor is what makes them special and he’s right. It’s hard to say which way voters will lean.

Front Pictures returned as a wildcard act and their four-dimensional performance was incredible. They “traveled” through a haunted hotel type of setting and it was hard to determine what was real and what was imaginary. Their concept is captivating and would make an exciting and entertaining Vegas act. Hopefully, they will survive elimination.

Husband and wife trapeze artists Duo Transcend was the final act and put everyone on the edge of their seats as they duplicated the blindfolded, high-flying trick during which Tyce previously dropped Mary over flames. The complexity and intricacy of their moves while swinging so high in the air is mind-blowing. Their routine was easily the most dangerous and physically demanding of the night and thankfully, they pulled off the failed trick flawlessly this time.

Overall, it’s impossible to predict who will stay and who will go in tonight’s elimination. Tune in to watch the AGT results show tonight at 8 p.m. ET/7 5 p.m. PT on NBC. Stay tuned to AXS for “America’s Got Talent” updates.